Monty and Patton

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by Young Tom, May 13, 2017.

  1. Young Tom

    Young Tom Member

    This book, by Michael Reynolds (retired General), was published in paperback by Pen and Sword in 2010. It starts with brief accounts of the background, training and service of these 'prima donnas' prior to WW2. It continues by looking in more detail at their parts of operations in North Africa, Italy and NW Europe. I found it easy to read and entertaining to a high degree. The contrasting styles of the infantry and cavalry generals is explored. The sub title 'Two paths to victory' is well chosen. A concluding answer, by the author, to the question ' under which would you have preferred to serve' is qualified by the clause ' under which I was more likely to survive'. I recommend it to anyone who has a broad knowledge of these general's operations.
  2. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Reynolds publications are always a curate's egg.

    His own views were deeply suspect, especially when one digs through his other works.
  3. Young Tom

    Young Tom Member

    This is the only one of his I have read. Would you care to enlarge?
  4. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Reynolds was very pro-German, especially Waffen-SS, and was clearly fascinated by them and their equipment.

    This leads to some very, very problematic narrative in his text. Some parts are very well researched and fairly constructed, based off a solid use of source material - others jump to complete fancy, despite him citing the the relevant documentation which allows for easy cross-referencing to debunk his arguments. Much like Beevor and Hastings he twists figures to an impressive extent to argue his view, even going so far as to state in some engagements certain SS-Panzer elements took no losses, despite this being clearly recorded!

    Thus his work must be treated with exceptional caution.

    Hence I always encourage others to study his work and make up their own mind!
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  5. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Forgive the lack of references, but I recall a lecture I listened to online in which a military historian basically rubbished the idea of any rivalry between the two men. The concept was born, the historian claimed, by the press's publicising (and possibly inventing) of a race for Messina during the invasion for Sicily.

    At no point were the two men swimmimg in the same pond. Despite Monty's propensity to prune his corps and divisional commanders and his habit of circumventing the chain of command on occasion, as General, Commander of Land Forces and Field Marshal, his concerns and those of Patton's were very different, and, hence, their conduct not readily comparable.

    Not least among the differences was that Monty had to (badly) account for transatlantic politics, where (in the ETO) that was Eisenhower's headache, and Patton had no choice but to do as he was commanded by Ike.

    All that aside, to play the game as proposed, you're in the majority in wishing to soldier under Monty over Patton. Even before the British manpower crisis of '44-'45, caution with the lives of his soldiers was a concern that loomed large in his mind, owing in part to his experiences as a junior officer in the Great War.

    Huge generalisation that I acknowledge as such: Monty's aim was usually victory at acceptable cost; Patton might lead you to death or glory.
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
  6. Young Tom

    Young Tom Member

    Of course their span of command, certainly after Overlord was different, as were their styles. As to Reynolds being pro- German, he is not the first author to recognise that the German soldier was often better than his Brit/US opponent, Col Dupuy comes to mind. Their equipment was also often superior. I recall reading a remark attributed to a German tank commander referring to Shermans 'we ran out of ammunition before you ran out of tanks'

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